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Trump May Face a Storm of Lawsuits, and Possible Jail Time, Without Presidential Immunity

When Trump returns to private life and the protective shield of immunity is removed, it renders him extremely vulnerable to prosecution.

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With President Donald Trump’s narrow chances of winning reelection hinging on a number of lawsuits, it almost seems too soon to consider the possibility that he could face a storm of legal troubles once he leaves the White House.

Trump is no stranger to lawsuits – both as the subject and instigator of them – and this will not change when he returns to private life and the protective shield of immunity is removed, rendering him extremely vulnerable to prosecution.

And while no former U.S. president has ended up behind bars, this isn’t due to their obedience to the law. Historically, presidents have used their power to accumulate fortune, influence, and favors. Likewise, ex-presidents have also received crucial political protection from their allies, such as when Richard Nixon received a blanket pardon from Gerald Ford for any crime he may have committed while in office.

Donald Trump’s presidency – like his life as a real estate tycoon turned reality TV star – has been anything but traditional. Likewise, his own crimes while in office have been extremely nontraditional. And while he’s immune from indictment under federal law as sitting president, once he leaves office he could face a number of lawsuits and investigations that will sharply impact his private life, his business, and potentially his freedom – that is, if he doesn’t pardon himself.

“The short answer is that once he leaves the office, his cloak of immunity, actual or implied by (Justice Department guidelines), will disappear,” former Florida federal prosecutor David Weinstein told USA Today.

One of the potential ways Trump could run into legal trouble is through tax fraud. Trump’s efforts to not release his taxes has been an ongoing theme of his presidency. And while the tax code has innumerable loopholes for billionaires to legally evade paying taxes, the Trump family has long been suspected of resorting to illegal means to avoid paying taxes.

A New York Times investigation in September revealed that Trump may have passed significant amounts of money to his children under the guise of legitimate business transactions, such as when his company deducted $747,622 in “consulting fees” for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver. At the same time, a consulting company paid that precise amount to Ivanka Trump, despite her being an employee of Trump’s company. Meanwhile, millions of other consulting fees were paid to another person.

Trump has also extended loans of $50 million to himself, written off hush money payments to a porn star as a business expense, and engaged in other shady transactions that have been revealed in the press.

For these reasons, Trump’s former fixer, convicted tax evader Michael Cohen, believes that the president could quickly end up in the slammer once his presidency ends.

“Based on what I know and what has now been reported, he may soon be the first sitting president to go from the White House straight to prison,” Cohen told the New York Daily News.

Trump also faces a criminal inquiry in his New York City hometown for what Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office calls “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.” The allegations involve hush money payments to two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump prior to him becoming president. Prosecutors are also investigating possible criminal activity within the Trump Organization.

Vance is also investigating whether Trump knowingly provided false statements about his finances to insurers and banks to receive lower premiums and interest rates on loans, which would be illegal in some circumstances.

Manhattan prosecutors are seeking eight years of tax filings and other financial documents from Trump as part of a grand jury investigation. Trump has denounced the investigation as “political prosecution,” and his attempts to shield his tax records have even reached the Supreme Court.

Trump’s potential legal troubles don’t end there, as his $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels over their alleged affair likely runs afoul of campaign finance law. Trump also made a $10 million donation to his own campaign on Oct. 27, 2016, which is believed to have come from a strange $21 million payment he received from a Las Vegas hotel he co-owned with a friend, constituting a potential illegal campaign contribution.

Trump also faces two defamation lawsuits from women who allege that he sexually assaulted them before later disparaging them and denying the allegations. Former Elle magazine journalist E. Jean Carroll has accused Trump of raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in Manhattan during the 1990s, and has sought DNA evidence to see if it matches genetic material left on her dress during the alleged incident.

While Trump sought to use the Justice Department to represent him in the case, a federal judge blocked them from intervening, ruling that the alleged defamation has “no relationship to the official business of the United States.”

Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos has filed a similar lawsuit in New York, claiming that Trump sexually assaulted her a decade prior by kissing and groping her on a number of occasions. 

There is also the matter of the long investigation carried out by special prosecutor Robert Mueller from May 2017 to March 2019. While Mueller believed that charging a sitting president was impossible while he was in office, he stressed in his final report that “a President does not have immunity after he leaves office.”

Additionally, following the release of the report more than 1,000 former federal prosecutors released a statement saying that were Trump not president, his conduct described in the report would “result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.”

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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